By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Trading her Auburn orange and blue for Team USA red, white and blue, Auburn junior Bri Folds participated in the U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team soccer training camp last week in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
“It was such a cool experience being there with all of this talent,” Folds said. “Everyone was at the highest level you could be. It was so much fun. I had a blast.”
It was the most recent national exposure for Folds, who also earned an invitation to a U-20 training camp in late November after her strong sophomore season.
“I feel like I had a pretty good year last year with Auburn and that helped getting called back,” she said. “I felt like I was prepared fitness wise and soccer wise,” she said. “I felt like I was going in there strong. When I got there, I felt like I fit in with everyone. I felt good.”
With the U-20 Women’s World Cup set for August in France, Folds hopes to remain on the national team’s radar.
“I felt really good with how camp went,” she said. “We had a game Friday and I played the whole game. I felt that was good feedback for me. I played to the best of my ability which is the only thing I could ask for.”
Folds developed physically and mentally at the national camp, she said.
“Every day we had meetings,” Folds said. “I feel like my soccer IQ expanded. We watched a lot of video, and I feel like I can help the [Auburn soccer] team in that sense. The work ethic at camp was so high, always. We had to be prepared to train. At that level, everything is so intense and so good.”
In 2017, Folds tied for Auburn’s team lead with six assists while ranking second in points (14) and tied for second with four goals.
“We have a lot of freshmen coming in who are going to be solid players,” she said. “I hope to be able to work off of them and have such a strong attack again.”
Returning to The Plains for Monday’s practice, Folds noted the similarities between Auburn coach Karen Hoppa’s program and her experience with the national team.
“My first practice was yesterday coming back and it was really good,” she said. “The practice was intense, just like it was at camp. It was like coming back to the same thing. Everyone was working hard and wanting to get better and learning from mistakes.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer